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Get better at anything!


Had the good fortune of carving out some time to finish a book that has made a quick impact on my life; "Triggers" by Marshall Goldsmith.  The most powerful aspect of this book for me was self questioning.  Heard about this technique from one of his social media posts & had been half-heartedly going through the motions of this technique.  I needed some coaching on it for sure.  He states that active questions make the most difference because of how they frame the responsibility.  They typically start with something like this...

"Did I do my best to.....?"

As you notice, the responsibility lies squarely on us, not with anyone else. We have to reconcile how we did with whatever challenge we've chosen to put intention behind.  Happiness, engagement, goals, meditation, good deeds, positive thinking, listening, medical appointments, exercise, healthy habits, relationships....literally anything.

He dives into many things; aspects of self-discipline versus self-control & that we don't improve without some structure & follow-up.  The habit of questioning ourselves can be the structure needed to get better at anything.

Two tools here; daily & hourly questions.  To make progress, the daily questions were not enough for me.  I had the self-discipline to start something new but lacked the self-control needed to affect positive change. Hourly questions were the answer!

We all carry a powerful tool around in our pockets every day that can help, our phones.  Soon after finishing the book, I set 12 alarms from 7AM to 7PM every day & re-wrote the alarm label asking the active question I most needed help with.  Bam!  After the first few hours a noticeable shift was beginning to happen with my state of mind.  How could something so simple be so powerful?

"The utmost in sophistication is simplicity."  -Apple

One caveat from Goldsmith; if we don't want to improve, no structure or person can help, only we make that choice for change.  An educational study indicated it takes 90 repetitions of anything to start a habit.  Good or bad, it's our choice.

Asking ourselves hard questions about what we need to stop doing & start doing can be the catalyst.  The successful journey to a happier life lies in all of us!  The example we are for others can make a profound impact each and every day, we just have to make the choice.  It's not really about us but it starts there & grows into serving others by our willingness to let go of all the stuff that doesn't hold value.

The person that emerges from this simple but powerful tool will yield a better you.  Still you...just a little better!

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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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